KS Eshwarappa backs Murugesh Nirani for Karnataka chief minister’s post
KS Eshwarappa is also an aspirant for the post of chief minister and was one of the many who expressed their displeasure at the possibility that incumbent Basavaraj Bommai will be the face of the 2023 state assembly election
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Karnataka’s rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) minister KS Eshwarappa backed his cabinet colleague Murugesh Nirani for the top post in the government in a rare moment of camaraderie in a deeply divided outfit.
Eshwarappa is also an aspirant for the post of chief minister and was one of the many who expressed their displeasure at the possibility that incumbent Basavaraj Bommai will be the face of the 2023 state assembly election.
“Murugesh Nirani will soon become the chief minister but I don’t know when. He has the capacity to become the chief minister and he can strive for the welfare of backward communities, poor, downtrodden and all the sections,” according to a statement from the large and medium industries department, attributing it to Eshwarappa.
Eshwarappa, however, added that Bommai will not be removed.
The statement fuels speculation of a growing divide within the BJP in Karnataka that threatens to dent its prospects in the 2023 assembly election.
The backing of Nirani is also seen as a move to get the backing of the Panchamasalis, the largest sub-sect of the dominant Lingayats, who are unhappy with the BJP for not yielding the community’s demand for better reservation as well as being overlooked for the top post when BS Yediyurappa was forced to step down in July.
The BJP and other parties continue campaigning for the December 10 MLC polls to take control of the upper house of the state legislature.
It is largely believed that this divide is part of the reason why the BJP lost in Hanagal constituency in Bommai’s home district of Haveri in the October 30 bypolls.
But the opposition has barely been able to capitalise on the divide within the BJP as they continue to be entangled in problems of their own in their respective outfits.
DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah remain entangled in a battle for dominance within the Congress while Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) is facing a rift within the family as former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s sons -- HD Kumaraswamy and HD Revanna -- fight it out to claim the reins of the regional party.
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